by Cody McLaughlin - Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Florida Congressman Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat representing Florida’s 23rd congressional district in Washington, recently made waves with a series of baseless claims about firearms and hunting during a House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing. Setting aside the politically and emotionally driven aspersions that Moskowitz put on his colleagues by insinuating that they were focused on banning books instead of on protecting kids by banning so-called “assault weapons,” we’ll focus on the false claim he made about hunting with these modern sporting rifles (MSRs) used by millions of hunters, competitors and recreational shooters across America.
During the exchange, Moskowitz said, “Do you know why you don’t hunt with an AR-15 with a deer? Because there’s nothing left.” If this were true, AR-platform rifles would not be the most-popular sporting rifle in the country as reported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The truth is that those seeking to ban these rifles continue to purposely spread misinformation about them to aid their cause.
Where Are The “Fact Checkers?”
The truth is that fact checkers such as Politifact abound for hunters and pro-gun legislators and activists, often using thin and nitpicky interpretations of statements to claim that everything pushed by the so-called “right wing” is false. As you can see in the NRA’s own Politifact profile, they seem to go much easier on the hyperbole and outright falsehoods put forth by the other side.
Yet even though Moskowitz shared his claims on his own social media accounts and several outlets covered the story and linked to the video where the claim was made, at press time there was no ruling by the Politifact truth-o-meter that the statement was false. The subject of controversy for the past month, it still has not been mentioned in Moskowitz’ Politifact profile. What does appear is a generous “half true” rating for an assertion that former president Donald Trump “instructed” governors to shut down during COVID, though the U.S. president has zero constitutional or other authority to instruct the governor of any state to do anything at all.
The Truth about Hunting with AR-15s and Other MSRs
Not that we should have to rehash the debate again, but so-called assault weapons are indeed popular sporting rifles that have a place afield with hunters. They are offered in a variety of calibers that are good for hunting, some of which are larger than the 5.56mm rounds, for example, that Moskowitz says “leave nothing left.”
The grounds, by the way, for his assertion that “there’s nothing left” are even flimsier than the most egregious claims of falsehood made by Politifact. Let’s set the record straight. A 5.56mm cartridge, which is one of the options that AR-15 modern sporting rifles are chambered in, is smaller by quite a bit than some of the most popular big game hunting rounds such as the .30-06, often referred to as “the most popular cartridge of all time.”
Article after article from influencers in the hunting industry also continue to award the .223 (essentially the same as the 5.56mm) high marks as one of the top hunting rounds for deer, while specifically citing its small size as one of the main drawbacks against it.
As the NRA Institute for Legislative Action regularly explains, AR-15s and other MSRs are not only popular among hunters but they are the most commonly used rifles used in civilian marksmanship competitions, training and home defense. Despite their cosmetic similarities to their fully automatic military counterparts, they are semi-automatic rifles that, by definition, are not the rapid-fire automatic rifles known as assault rifles.
About the Author
Cody McLaughlin is a conservationist and conservative thought leader on public policy issues including hunting, fishing, gun rights, free-market tax and wage policy and the environment. He recently launched Trout Stream Studios, serving as executive producer for podcasts and livestreams in the hunting and veterans’ affairs arenas, including for Blood Origins and the Veterans’ Affairs Administration’s National Center for PTSD. He is an advertising consultant for conservative political groups, managing clients’ digital communications and online presence, and serves on the board of the Alaska Outdoor Council, (the Last Frontier’s State NRA Affiliate) and is a former board member and lead spokesman of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, helping to represent the state’s 1.2 million sportsmen in the political arena.
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